Off topic: "Quiz" - a whole new word?
Thread poster: George Trail

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:28
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
May 15, 2010

I have heard this story from my mother about how the word "quiz" came into existence. She openly states that she doubts its truth, but here is it how it goes:

It all started with two upper-class gents meeting in a pub or somewhere similar and one made a bet with the other that he could introduce a new word into the English language overnight. The one making the bet decided that the word would be "quiz". Before long everyone else started reporting having seen the word "quiz" everywhere on walls and other surfaces, and they were like, "Quiz? What does that mean?" Not that I actually know whether or not the bet was won, but consider this...

The word "quiz" as we know it today, definitely has a "question" element - not unlike "inquisitive" when you think about it! Or the word "question" itself: it's easy to agree that that word and the word "quiz" are inter-related. But there are no clues (at least from my perspective) that the new invented word was supposed to have a specific meaning from the very start - no clues that refute the idea that it would be all those who saw the word "quiz" written everywhere (by chance or not), and not the man who made the bet, who would give it any meaning.

If you think this story is true, would you accuse the first man of screwing the second man or not?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-05-16 12:00 GMT]

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